1st Edition

Ethnic Hospitality Marketing Authenticity and Quality Constructions in the Greek Food Industry

By Elena Chatzopoulou Copyright 2023
    200 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Ethnic-themed restaurants are informal but powerful ambassadors for a country’s culture and contributors to local and national economies. Communicating authenticity and quality are essential characteristics in the development of a competitive and effective marketing strategy for restaurants. This book analyses how authenticity and quality perceptions are both constructed and communicated within the ethnic dining sector.

    Drawing on qualitative research methods, the book explores examples from the Greek food industry to analyse restaurateurs’ and consumers’ constructed meanings of authenticity, and how it is transmitted and received. It follows by exploring the marketing implications of consumer constructs and effective promotional methods to aid restaurateurs to better engage with customers whilst also respecting their culinary culture. It also guides the reader through the use of NVivo for research purposes, and its utilisations to facilitate inductive and interpretive analyses.

    This book offers a valuable resource for researchers across marketing, including consumer behaviour, food marketing, marketing research and communications. The data analysis tools explored are also transferable to a wide range of sectors outside of food and dining.

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    1.1 Introduction

    1.2 Authenticity and quality meanings

    1.3 The aim: Setting food in the centre of our exploration

    1.4 Food as a theoretical perspective

    1.5 How can marketing influence food choices?

    1.5.1 Marketing and consumer values

    1.5.2 Marketing communications

    1.6 What’s the theoretical story (food glory)?

    Chapter 2: Literature review

    2.1 Introduction

    2.2 Perspectives of authenticity

    2.3 Food meanings and authenticity perceptions

    2.4 Quality conventions and some theory behind

    2.5 Self-identity and social identity: Can they influence food choices?

    2.6 Ethnic identity and its influence upon food choices

    2.7 Consumer culture and some theory behind

    2.8 The influence of word of mouth (WOM) and e-word of mouth (eWOM) upon consumers

    2.9 Network building among food providers and consumers

    2.10 What makes a successful restaurant?

    2.11 Summary

    Chapter 3: The Greek culinary culture and its health benefits

    3.1 Introduction

    3.2 The Greek culinary culture

    3.3 The economic context: The restaurant sector in Greece over the last years

    3.4 Health benefits of the traditional Mediterranean diet

    3.5 Summary

    Chapter 4: Methodology

    4.1 Introduction

    4.2 Why conduct a qualitative study?

    4.3 Interpretivism

    4.4 Grounded theory

    4.4.1 Constructivist strategy

    4.4.2 Clusters

    4.5 Semiotics and symbolic interactionism

    4.6 Choice of data collection, sampling and data analysis methods

    4.7 Interview guides (in-depth and cultural interviewing)

    4.8 Projective technique (word association)

    4.9 Inductive reasoning

    4.10 Data analysis (coding stages and Nvivo)

    4.11 Respondent validation

    4.11.1 Constant comparison

    4.11.2 Running an event: Presenting the findings to practitioners and consumers

    4.12 Ethical issues

    4.13 Summary

    Chapter 5: Restaurateurs’ understanding of authenticity

    5.1 Introduction

    5.2 Restaurateurs’ authenticity perceptions

    5.2.1 Menu construction

    5.2.2 Tradition (recipes from previous generations and not influenced by other nations)

    5.2.3 Traditional cooking (slow cooking technique, cooking from scratch)

    5.2.4 Hummus and other controversial dishes (adaptation to the global market)

    5.2.5 Ingredients from the origin with or without PDO/PGI designation (e.g. oil, olives, herbs, feta)

    5.2.6 Wine from the origin

    5.2.7 The staff

    5.2.8 Music

    5.2.9 Decoration / atmosphere

    5.2.10 Traditional entertainment (e.g. smashing plates, traditional dancing)

    5.2.11 Indexical authenticity

    5.2.12 Existential authenticity 

    5.3 Factors influencing the construction of authenticity

    5.3.1 Identities and cultural familiarity

    5.4 Summary

    Chapter 6: Consumers’ food choices and authenticity understanding

    6.1 Introduction

    6.2 Consumers’ authenticity perceptions

    6.2.1 Food and menu

    6.2.2 Tradition

    6.2.3 Hummus and other controversial dishes (adaptation to the market)

    6.2.4 Ingredients and P.D.O. products (e.g. feta)

    6.2.5 Atmosphere / decoration

    6.2.6 Food quality

    6.2.7 Taste

    6.2.8 Staff

    6.2.9 Music and entertainment

    6.3 Factors influencing consumers’ food choices

    6.3.1 Nostalgia

    6.3.2 The role of experiences

    6.3.3 The restaurant owner

    6.3.4 Identities

    6.4 Summary

    Chapter 7: The quality and authenticity network: identities, authenticity perceptions and quality conventions

    7.1 Introduction

    7.2 An in-depth exploration of authenticity and its perceptions

    7.3 Quality conventions

    7.3.1 Quality conventions for ethnic restaurants Inspirational category Market category Domestic category

    7.3.2 Intersection of authenticity and quality Pragmatic iconicity Ancestral indexicality Innovative iconicity Intersection points of authenticity and quality Authenticity convention and the identity factor

    7.4 Structuring a network of restaurant owners and consumers: Their communication and the word of mouth

    7.4.1 Establishing a social network based on the word of mouth

    7.4.2 Interessement

    7.4.3 Word of mouth versus identity

    7.5 Summary

    Chapter 8: Discussion

    8.1 Introduction

    8.2 Quality and authenticity conventions of restaurant owners and consumers within the communication network of ethnic restaurants

    8.3 Summary

    Chapter 9: Conclusions

    9.1 Introduction

    9.2 Summary of key findings related to research objectives

    9.3 Theoretical implications

    9.4 Practical implications



    1. Author’s notes during the interviews with restaurateurs

    2. Semi-structured interview schedule for ethnic restaurant managers/owners

    3. Semi-structured interview schedule for consumers of Greek ethnic restaurants

    4. Menu 1 – Black font (Domestic oriented restaurant)

    5. Menu 2 – Blue font (Market oriented restaurant)


    Dr. Elena Chatzopoulou has served as an associate professor of marketing and digital marketing at universities in the United Kingdom and France, and also as (visiting) professor of marketing at IÉSEG, School of Management. Before joining academia, she worked as a marketing manager.

    Elena has supervised numerous theses of marketing students and has also provided consultancy services to companies with a focus on marketing, digital marketing and communication. She has taught in physical as well as in digital environments, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. To name a few of her courses: digital consumer, e-business, branding, international marketing and integrated marketing communications, for which she received excellent student evaluations. During her academic tenure in the United Kingdom she was certified as a fellow of the Higher Education – UKPSF (D2).

    During her career she has received the teaching excellence award from the Academy of Marketing, the best paper award at the IFIP e-Business, e-Services and e-Society conference. She has also been awarded as an outstanding reviewer and for outstanding contribution to reviewing articles for publication by the journal Computers in Human Behavior.